Eric Holder on threats from Syria: ‘It’s more frightening than anything I think I’ve seen as attorney general.’

Attorney General Eric Holder went on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" to discuss Republican complaints about the White House and the Justice Department.

Holder, who gave the interview in London, also discussed international issues, namely Syria, where reports indicate that terrorists are working to build undetectable explosives.

"It's something that gives us really extreme, extreme concern," Holder said. "In some ways, it's more frightening than anything I think I've seen as attorney general."

Most of the interview was devoted to domestic issues, however.

He saved his toughest response for Sarah Palin — who said last week that President Obama should be impeached for his administration's decisions on immigration.


Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential nominee, in Sevierville, Tenn., last month. (Saul Young/The Knoxville News Sentinel via Associated Press)

“She wasn't a particularly good vice presidential candidate," he said, amid a slew of Sunday show interviews that focused intensely on undocumented immigrants, who have been debated on the Hill and across the country this past week. "She's an even worse judge of who ought to be impeached and why."

Holder also dismissed Speaker of the House John Boehner's lawsuit against the president, sparked by the administration's handling of the Affordable Care Act.

“It's a more, I think, a political gesture than a truly legal one,” Holder said. “Filing a lawsuit against the president that has no basis is not going to improve the quality of life for the American people.”

His response mirrored the exasperation Obama expressed over Boehner's lawsuit in a speech in Denver last week: "You’re going to use taxpayer money to sue me for doing my job while you don’t do your job?"

Holder went on to say why he thought Republicans had been at such odds with Obama and him. “There's a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that's directed at me [and] directed at the president," he said. “You know, people talking about taking their country back. … There's a certain racial component to this for some people. I don’t think this is the thing that is a main driver, but for some there's a racial animus.”

He echoed and expanded on a speech he made in 2009 about race in America and his experience in politics. "I think we are still a nation that is too afraid to confront racial issues," he said.

Holder's Sunday show appearance was a rare one — he tends to avoid them at all costs, as Politico's Glenn Thrush noted in a recent profile. Given that, Stephanopoulos made sure to ask Holder for his opinion on every political issue with a legal spin.

Regarding several of the state election laws being challenged by the Justice Department, Holder said, “I'm attorney general of the United States. I will not stand for — I will not allow people to take away that which people gave their lives to give, and that is the ability for the American people to vote."

He also offered an opinion in the debate over the appropriateness of the Washington Redskins' name, saying it "ought to be changed."

“I think it is an offensive name," he said." And the Redskins are … a team with a storied history that has huge amounts of support in Washington, D.C. And I think in the 21st century, they could increase their fan base, increase their level of support if they did something that is so, from my perspective, so obviously right.”

Jaime Fuller reports on national politics for "The Fix" and Post Politics. She worked previously as an associate editor at the American Prospect, a political magazine based in Washington, D.C.
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